Finding Your Tribe: Healing Rejection and Abandonment Through Created Community
Healing rejection and abandonment is possible through created community. Finding your tribe of supporters is a key way to start healing from these hurts.The Bible is many things, including a book that offers insight into relationships. Its narrative highlights the value of different kinds of community: whether family, friend, or faith partner. Instructions from its stories reveal God’s heart for humanity. Our God wants us to experience Him advocating for us. He also places us in proximity to people who will champion us.
Community is God’s idea. He abides in fellowship with Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Out of this fellowship, God is complete and without deficit. Creating humans, however, established a people to love and a place to pour His goodness. He models what it looks like to have a tribe or community that encourages and intercedes for us before we encounter it in others.
Lost and found.
Many of us have experienced rejection and abandonment by significant people at critical times. This can make finding a tribe seem impossible. Wounded by traumatic incidents, we may sincerely desire connection with others. Instead, we may recoil, emphasizing risk over potential rewards.
As much as we want God’s design for fellowship, our history with interpersonal conflict or internal battles plagues us. We often feel paralyzed by social anxiety, beset by low confidence, or feel we lack the skills to form, foster, and sustain meaningful connections.
Finding our people or tribe is essential to cultivating our gifts. Belonging to a community of people with similar interests and goals fosters a safe atmosphere to further define our identities.
Anchoring in a network allows us to encourage others, offering accountability that aligns us with the Lord’s design. God prioritizes our relationship with Him. Yet, He positions us to grow through our personal and collective experiences as part of a body of believers.
Blueprint for community.
Several biblical examples emphasize having a tribe or a people and place to belong. Jesus Himself aligned with a diverse group of followers from various backgrounds. In order to accomplish His aims as God in a human body, He needed people. Those who followed and fellowshipped with Him discovered the redeeming connection with the Father through Jesus as Savior, Friend, and Teacher.
Each follower deployed his or her unique role in accomplishing God’s purpose in the earth. Their gifts and skills were essential in sharing and spreading the gospel. Ordinary people, just like us, willingly walked with the Messiah in a new path.
Not all were fishers, but Jesus aligned them all to gather souls (Mark 1:17). While Christ trained them, they walked as examples of what would later be described as abiding in One Body with one Spirit, multiple members and various gifts (1 Corinthians 12:12).
Jesus chose and befriended them despite their flaws. While each was going about their daily tasks, Christ saw the eternal good and called them into the purpose for which they had been created.
Although Jesus embraced community with His closest followers, He knew that He would one day leave them on earth to continue what He’d begun in and with them (Philippians 1:6). The Savior guaranteed that His Holy Spirit would remain to inhabit, console, and guide them into their next steps (John 14:26).
Going forward, this tribe would be with one another to apply their individual and collective shoulders to the plow to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 9:62). Similarly, we need a group of people who understand our mission and gifts enough to co-labor instead of competing or comparing. The world can be merciless. In kindness, God has carved out refreshing places to revive us, so we can heal and be healed, refresh and be refreshed in our discovered communities.
Fit and function.
We require God and we need one another. He designed Christ’s body of believers to function as one, with multiple parts. He also knew the relational challenges we would have, knowing that we might want to withdraw in fear and anxiety about the potential pain of further rejection.
He also knew that our enemy would magnify this as one of the reasons to justify living disconnected or in isolation. The power that comes from the risk of unity and alignment “turned the world upside down” in the early church (Acts 17:6).
Similarly, the early believers embodied sharing, building one another as they exemplified Christ’s message. Communal resourcing underwrote their physical and natural needs (Acts 2:44-46).
Prayer and mutual service established their bond and strengthened their common purpose. While each had a unique role in the body of Christ, they supplemented spiritual and emotional support in ways relevant to the individual and the collective.
God built us with a need and capacity for community. No human can answer a need that only He fills. However, God often meets needs through others.
We can experience a greater dimension of fulfillment when we pair our purpose with finding our people. The ones assigned to help may not remain with us the entirety of our journey, yet their distinct roles connect us with the destiny and hopes God holds for humanity.
Tips for overcoming rejection and abandonment.
Sharpen, strengthen, support.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17, NIV
Interdependent relationships provide a mirror where we sharpen skills and develop godly character. They refine and develop parts of our lives, revealing and clarifying what we otherwise could not see. They provide relevant support and share the burdens that would otherwise break us. Having a tribe encourages us in fulfilling the purpose the Father chose and advances us toward the destiny He has crafted for us.
Affirmation and accountability.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much. – James 5:16, NASB2020
The Bible underscores the importance of being and belonging. Nurturing connection with others around our gifts and unique calling promotes wellbeing amid challenges. Divine friend groups convey God’s nature and further His kingdom. Our tribes offset blind spots and illuminate what requires adjustment as we deepen in fellowship. They offer the sort of acceptance, affirmation, and accountability that spur us to love God, others, and ourselves well.
In order for His will to be done in the earth and our lives, we must yield to and collaborate with the Holy Spirit. Because He has authorized His sons and daughters to take dominion in the earth, He does not overstep His Word; but rather works through human hearts and hands to manifest His purposes (Genesis 1:28; Amos 3:7).
This, too, amounts to more than our individual efforts could ever achieve; but can only be accomplished in partnership with God and others in community.
Engage and edify.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15, NIV
The risks of encountering community are challenges we associate with vulnerability. The intimate nature of friendship with others in Christ can make us feel exposed. However, we learn to temper the discomfort that accompanies fostering trust and relationship.
Growing in this way matures us, equipping us to receive the truth that sets us free from the bondage of blind spots. We also have to be mindful to speak the truth in love, so that we edify as we engage those among our people.
Finding Your Tribe
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Ephesians 4:30, NIV
The Father validates us as His children. He hid us in Christ, placing us in His Beloved Son. Belonging to our tribe isn’t all that eclipses the shadows of rejection and abandonment; but finding our people is additional evidence of how loved we are. God eternally settled and sealed all matters of our worth, in heaven and earth.
If we want the reward of finding our tribes, we must access the spiritual, mental, and emotional healing available by faith and action. Unhealed wounds left by rejection and abandonment stand in the way of receiving the fullness God has intended.
Christian counseling for rejection and abandonment.
However, seeking the Holy Spirit’s counsel and following up with a therapist through this site, will help to redeem what’s lost and broken inside of us. We, too, can journey to find and be found by our tribe, creating community in the ways God has always intended for our individual and collective good. Be sure to reach out to a Christian counselor today to get started on this healing journey.
“Friends”, Courtesy of Vonecia Carswell, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Meeting in the Middle”, Courtesy of Shane Rounce, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Running With the Pack”, Courtesy of Jed Villejo, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sitting on the Wall”, Courtesy of James Baldwin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License